MountainTrue Raleigh Report
The MountainTrue Raleigh Report covers environmental politics and policy, with a focus on the issues that affect Western North Carolina. Sign up to get the Raleigh Report delivered to your inbox.
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Now that the months-long political mud wrestling match known as redistricting is over, it’s a good time to take a look at what the state’s new legislative and congressional maps mean for Western North Carolina. We won’t go over the legislature’s – and the courts’ – torturous path to finalizing districts maps. Suffice to say that the process reached its inglorious end with decisions by both the NC and US Supreme Courts. The House and Senate maps will remain in place for a decade, but the congressional map will be redrawn next year because it was imposed by a court rather than adopted by the legislature.
As you may know, lawmakers at the North Carolina General Assembly finally approved a budget in November after months of wrangling among themselves as well as with Governor Cooper. The new spending plan represents the first full budget approved by the legislature and...
After almost a full calendar year in session (to say nothing of a three-year delay since the last budget was approved) the North Carolina General Assembly has approved — and Governor Cooper has signed — a complete spending state plan, which now totals more than $25 billion annually.
On Wednesday, October 13, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill called “Energy Solution for North Carolina” or HB 951. Standing behind a podium bearing the words Securing Our Clean Energy Future, Cooper confidently asserted “ … today I will sign a historic bill that gives us an extraordinary new tool in our fight against climate change. Today, North Carolina moves strongly into a reliable and affordable clean energy future.”
Clearly, this wasn’t the same HB 951 that had been negotiated behind closed doors by House Republicans, Duke Energy, and other industry groups and passed by the House on a 57-49 vote in July.
This year’s state budget could include crucial investments in water quality, the environment, and public lands. We need your help to win support for much-needed funding to clean up WNC rivers and protect our environment. Take action today and help us win a better budget for our communities and the environment.
On the French Broad River, our data showed a sharp increase in E. coli levels several years ago – but while we knew E. coli was spiking, we couldn’t say for certain where it was coming from. We needed funding to do more sensitive eDNA testing and determine the major sources of E. coli in the river. That’s when our lobbying effort in Raleigh kicked in.
In this edition of the Raleigh Report, we take a look at Governor Cooper’s new appointee for DEQ Secretary and run down our WNC delegation and their committee appointments.
The North Carolina General Assembly is back in action for its 2021 session – and MountainTrue is ready with a list of requests for legislators to protect Western North Carolina’s natural resources.
In case you missed it, two of North Carolina’s environmental leaders got new, high profile jobs recently.
First, Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) Michael S. Regan was appointed by President-Elect Joe Biden to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to leading NC DEQ, Secretary Regan led clean energy expansion programs at the Environmental Defense Fund, and also served as an air quality expert at the EPA for almost a decade. You might remember that Secretary Regan also received hundreds of public comments from MountainTrue members and our allies calling for full excavation of North Carolina’s coal ash in 2019 – a decision he ultimately ordered, resulting in the largest coal ash cleanup in US history.
After millions of dollars in campaign spending, a gazillion political ads and much gnashing of teeth (as well as far too many tweets), the balance of power in the next North Carolina General Assembly is clear. At the state level, all of that politicking has landed us, well, right back where we started.